§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to develop regional technology centres to establish delivery mechanisms for innovation and technology transfer and offer specific services to small and medium-sized enterprises in Wales.
§ Mr. David Hunt
Colleges in Wales provide a regional network of centres of technology and, with the active support of the Government, many of these organisations including North East Wales institute (NEWI), Carmarthenshire college of technology and art (CCTA) and the university of Glamorgan, already deliver focused technology transfer services to Welsh industry, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). University colleges, and companies, in Wales make extensive use of the teaching company scheme and are involved in many of the LINK programmes.
The Welsh Development Agency also encourages technology transfer; Imperial Park is being developed and this and other initiatives such as the Welsh relay centre and support under the European STRIDE and DTI college-industrial units programmes will build on existing strengths and make an invaluable contribution towards enhancing the innovative culture we are seeking to encourage within Welsh SMEs.
Moreover, as I announced recently, the Government are reviewing the scope for transferring responsibility for a range of schemes for encouraging industrial innovation and technology transfer in Wales from the Department of Trade and Industry to the Welsh Office.